Friday, March 28, 2014

The Accident

So I'm driving south on Highway 400 on Monday afternoon around 5:40 p.m. after my last delivery in Barrie. Conditions are good. There isn't any snow on the highway and visibility is clear. Since it's not congested traffic is moving at a good clip - probably 100-120 kph. I'm looking ahead when I see something happening approximately 300 metres down the road.

Since I was a fair distance away and it happened quickly I didn't get a good view. All I see a big puff of snow from a vehicle that just ploughed through the snowbank (2-3 feet high) on the shoulder. (There's still a lot of snow in Barrie even though there isn't much in Toronto). Things (snow and other items) were flying all around. I believe it did at least one flip (but probably more) before coming to rest.

Even though I was kind of in a hurry to get back to the city I figured I'd better stop. A lot of cars had slowed down, but most kept going. When I got there one car had stopped on the right shoulder. A lady was standing beside it not doing much. Another car had stopped on the left shoulder. A man got out and put on a yellow safety vest and tried to cross three lanes of traffic. He made it across without too much trouble. One car had to hit the brakes to avoid running him over. But, most cars had slowed down a lot by this time.

Upon arrival at the scene I was preparing myself to extricate an injured person/persons from a car. But by the time I pulled over on the shoulder, put my hazard lights on and got out of my van a young lady with brown hair (perhaps in her late 20s or early 30s) had already gotten out of the driver's side and was walking around. Miraculously, she didn't seem injured at all.

The man and I approached her not walking too quickly since there was still a bit of snow on the side of the highway (perhaps 6-12 inches) and it wasn't easy to walk through. Besides, we saw that she wasn't in distress so the situation didn't seem urgent. The man spoke first. He asked her how she was. She said she felt all right. Maybe a little bit dizzy because her car had flipped over (at least once even though it had landed upright).

Stuff was strewn all over the place. The car was damaged. Not heavily. The trunk was kind of crunched. It was fully open and the contents were all around. Maybe she had just gone shopping. I noticed her bag and sunglass a bit further away. They probably came out of the interior of her car.

Since the young lady looked okay and I was in a bit of a hurry to get back to Toronto I asked if they needed me to stay. The man said they were all right. I guess they could handle things from there. I believe the guy was on the phone when I took off. The other lady was still standing by her car on the shoulder of the highway.

I was considering helping the girl pick up her belongings as I walked by them on the way back to my vehicle. But I thought I should leave them in case the investigator (when he/she came) wanted to take pictures of things where they lay. I hoped someone would get there soon because the light was starting to dim. It would be hard to take pictures and even harder to find/pick everything up afterwards.

I didn't see how the accident happened. I'm not sure if all three of them were involved. I noticed a bit of damage on the passenger-side front bumper of the guy's car as I was driving away.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Why you should Adopt

If you read my previous posts you know I recently watched a documentary on girls being adopted from China. I happen to think overseas adoption is a great idea. Here are the reasons why.

1. If you adopt from overseas, generally you'll be helping a child who is in need. Most likely they'll be living in impoverished conditions with little hope for a bright future. This is as good a reason to adopt as any. Share your love with someone who will truly appreciate it.

2. You'll help save the planet. "What are you talking about?" you may ask. It's simple... at the rate we're going the population of the world will reach critical mass in no time. Natural resources will be all but depleted, pollution will choke cities, people will starve. Would you actually want to bring another life into a world such as this? It makes no sense at all.

That's it, that's all. Two reasons. Only two. But, two important reasons if I don't say so myself - Share Love, Save the Earth. Why have children of your own when there are so many without families already? Just to continue the family line? Instead of thinking of yourself I'd suggest helping contribute to the greater good of the planet. Adopt a child.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Things I've Found

Last Saturday when I was downtown I saw this young fellow come out of a barber shop. He walked no further than 10 metres when a $20 bill dropped out of his pocket. I walked over quickly to pick it up, but fumbled with it because it was completely flat on the ground and my hands were a bit numb from the cold. I caught up to him after a few seconds and told him he dropped it. He thanked me and I continued on ahead of him.

That got me thinking about things I've found. The most expensive thing I've found was an iPhone last year. That was while I was walking home up Yonge Street from downtown. I was on the west side of the street near Summerhill subway station I believe. It was just there on the sidewalk. I don't remember if it was locked or anything. But, I don't believe I was able to find out whose it was. I figured they would call anyway. So I continued walking and waited.

The call came when I was in front of Mount Pleasant Cemetery. It was a lady. She had been riding her bike with her husband if I remember correctly. The iPhone had been in her seat pouch which she forgot to zip up. Luckily it wasn't damaged. I asked her to identify the phone by asking what colour it was. She told me, blue. I was actually looking for "Sky Blue", but that was close enough. I told her where I was and that I'd wait for her. They wanted to give me a reward, but I said it was fine.

The most interesting thing I found was a police officer's badge when I was a kid. It was in the parking lot behind some apartment buildings (1002 Lawrence Avenue East) around where I grew up. It was just lying there on the ground. I believe it looked sort of like a wallet, you know, brown or black leather. When I opened it I saw the badge inside. That was neat. Of course we called the police to return it. It would have been a neat souvenir though. Whoever dropped it really has to be more careful.

The largest amount of money I found was $40 U.S. I saw two $20 bills lying on the sidewalk in front of the Italian consulate on Beverley Street. Don't know who dropped it. I went to lunch with some of my friends all thanks to an unfortunate American tourist.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Somewhere Between

I caught most of this movie on TVO (TV Ontario) a couple of nights ago. I was just flipping channels when I saw it. So I missed the first bit unfortunately.

The story of the adopted girls (who came from China to America) and the difficulties they faced regarding their situation (of being adopted) was very touching.

In some cases they had questions regarding their birth parents. Everyone wants to know their origin -  where they came from, if they had brothers or sisters, etc..

Another problem some of them struggled with was the notion of being abandoned by their birth parents. This was very hard for them to deal with.

On that subject I just watched another documentary called "Echoes" on TVO online in which the interviewed birth mothers from China about this. Let me tell you, in general they were disconsolate about their decisions to give their children up.

In some cases they faced outside pressure to give birth to a son, yes. But, in others, they just couldn't afford to take proper care of another child. So, in their minds, it was for the benefit of their baby that they gave her up. It was because they loved you that they "abandoned" you.

I just want to say, you are loved. Your birth mother loved you enough to give you up to have a better life. Your adoptive parents loved you enough to cross continents to find you and bring you home. Don't ever forget that.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Canadian International AutoShow

I went to the Canadian International AutoShow last month. It was held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. It was the first time I've gone in many, many years. I wasn't looking for a new car or anything like that. One of my friends was able to get discounted tickets. That's why I decided to go.

I went on a Friday because I thought it wouldn't be as busy as if I had gone on the weekend. I drove down with a friend. We parked in an underground lot that another friend told me about off Blue Jays Way, just south of Wellington. It was $12 for the day (even on a weekday).

My main purpose in attending the show was to take pictures of shiny, new cars. I was especially keen on seeing the Toyota FT-1 concept car (which I had only seen pictures of). I think it looks amazing. I was quite disappointed to find it wasn't there.

Still, there were some really neat looking vehicles. Of course, I've always loved the Corvette. The Jaguar, Infiniti, Lexus, Audi and BMW new and concept cars were neat too.

Then there was the exotic car section in the lower level of the north building. Incredible. That's all I can say. It was look, but don't touch there. Not unless you were loaded and actually looking to buy. Then they let you behind the roped off area. Otherwise you stood with the rest of the peasants behind the barriers.

I spent so much time taking pictures I never got the chance to sit in any of the cars (like my friend and most other people were doing). Oh well. In 10-15 years, when I decided to go again, maybe then I'll actually get into a car.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Good-bye, Quebec

Quebec premier, Pauline Marios, has called a general election for April 7th. Her minority Parti Quebecois party currently leads the public opinion polls followed by the Liberals and the Coalition for Quebec's Future.

Marios has gained much notoriety for her party's controversial secularism charter in which public employees (such as teachers, doctors, nurses, judges and police) are forbidden to wear anything overtly religious. This would include turbans on Sikhs, skullcaps for Jews, head scarves on Muslim women or crosses for Christians.

People believe that if her party wins a majority in this provincial election she will hold a referendum on whether or not Quebec should separate from the rest of Canada. The last one was held in 1995.

Previously I was scared of losing Quebec if they decided to separate. But, now, such talk makes me angry. I'm a proud Canadian and I love this country. To me, some Quebecers can be whiners and racists.

They feel the need to enact laws to make their citizens conform to a narrow way of living instead of encouraging diversity (whether it's in their language laws or proposed secularism charter). It's diametrically opposed to everything Canada stands for.

What do they think they'll accomplish with separation? I'd suggest isolation and instability. They will be the lone French speaking territory in North America.

I'm guessing many businesses and industries will leave due to this as well as the uncertainty surrounding the governing party. Who knows what sort of other absurd laws they might enact when they are in power?

I believe if they separate they will not only lose citizens who are tired of their heavy handed language laws, but many professional ethnic minorities who are fed up with their lack of tolerance. Economically-speaking, this also could be detrimental.

So, Quebec, if you ever decide to separate from the rest of Canada I say, good riddance. You will see no tears shed by me this time.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Academy Awards Viewing Party at Dickie's

Perry and Dickie organized a potluck dinner at Dickie's house on Sunday. We were going to watch the Academy Awards on TV there. Ellen Degeneres was hosting this year. She's really good.

As usual, I said I'd bring dessert. Normally I look for a store bought pie since I can't cook. Before I could go out and get it Perry called me and said, too many people were bringing dessert. He suggested I buy a veggie platter instead.

We had a good turnout - 15 to 20 people. I believe most of them were either from Perry's church or Dickie's church. There was a fair amount of food. I noticed hardly anyone touched my veggie platter (baby carrots, celery, broccoli and cauliflower with dip). Bad choice, Perry! Nobody likes healthy food (wink, wink).

Perry had his traditional Academy Awards quiz to see who could pick the most category winners. This year he provided a "cheat sheet" with the Las Vegas odds on the favourites for each category. It helped for some of the more obscure choices (like best animated short or best foreign language film).

I hadn't seen most or even any of the movies nominated this year. So I relied heavily on the cheat sheet with a few hunches thrown in. Turns out it was a good way to pick. I ended up tied with Perry for most correct answers. Out of the 24-25 questions we both only got four wrong. It made watching a bit more interesting. We were on edge as each award was given keenly checking our answers.

It was good to meet up with everyone again. I don't see the guys that much. Probably only 2-3 times a year whenever we meet for birthdays or other holidays.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ottawa - Winterlude Pt. 3

Our last full day in Ottawa was slow compared to the others. Our room got up relatively early for breakfast. After that Sid and I decided to go for a skate. He had spent most of Saturday in bed trying to recover from being sick. I suppose he didn't want to spend the whole trip inside though.

The others stayed in to watch the Canadian men versus Finland, Group B hockey game. It would have been nice to watch, but it would have cut right into the middle of day. Since it was my first time in Ottawa in the winter in around 20 years I figured I'd better take advantage of it and do outdoor stuff.

It was chillier out today compared to Saturday. The forecast high was -10C. When we left the hotel it probably was even colder. I decided to wear my snow pants over my jeans instead of just wearing my cycling tights underneath my jeans. On the plus side the skies were beautiful blue which was great for pictures. That was nice compared to the overcast grey of the day before.

Like the day before, we were out a long time. And, like the day before, it was because we were taking pictures (mostly me).

We had a decent skate. I even took Sid on part of the route he had never been on before (even though he's skated the canal many times). He always thought the end was at Dow's Lake. That's what he told me too.

When I arrived at it for the first time the day before I thought I was finished. But, when I looked at the map there I noticed another part. It branched off a bit earlier. On my way back I found it. It was an arm that split off towards Carelton University. That's where the real "The End" sign is.

After skating we returned to the hotel. The girls had gone out shopping at an indoor mall. I guess it was too cold for them to do anything outdoors. Sid and I took naps. He still was trying to get some rest from being under the weather. And, me... well, I'm not used to getting up before 9:30 a.m. so that was my excuse.

The group decided to order pizza for dinner. Originally we were going to eat it in Danny and Judy's unit. But, we arranged to use the common area on the 4th floor with the hotel staff. It was much larger. Our group was about 20 people after all.

I thought it would be a good opportunity to have some quality group time. But, the hotel staff only lit a long, narrow part of the common area so we were stretched out pretty thinly. I ended up just sitting with Sid and Pauline.

The adults sat in one area and the kids another. As usual the youngsters finished first and left to do stuff on their own. We took a bit longer enjoying one another's company.

Afterwards I took a short rest then headed out to take some night photography. I started at the ByWard Market. It was largely deserted. There were some people inside the bars and restaurants, but at that time of the night in the dark and cold, there weren't too many people wandering around.

After that I headed over to the National Gallery of Canada and nearby Notre-Dame church. The church was lit up pretty well. The National Gallery was undergoing renovations and was surrounded by scaffolding. Not nice for photos.

I ended up seeing the back side of the Parliament buildings (where the library is) on my walk. I tried to take some pictures of it, but I believe my wide angle lens was frozen by that point. It didn't seem to want to focus. At that point I decided to call it a day and headed back to the hotel.

We left for home fairly early the next day right after breakfast. We wanted to beat the exodus of guests from the hotel and the return traffic into Toronto after a long weekend.